Fifteen years ago, in May 2008, we bought our church in Colchester. Although people laughed at me at the time for even buying the church, I said that one day the church would be too small. They mocked even more. Since then we have had to set up two small churches, one in Norwich and the second on the edge of Cambridge for those who came to us. Both have their priests, one of them is a former Colchester parishioner, the other is a priest who first celebrated here. In Colchester itself we now have a second priest and two deacons. However, now we are facing a real problem. Our church is getting too small, with 300-400 people every Sunday. What we really need is another church in a town further down the A12 nearer London.
In 2008 I had a conversation with the then Bishop Elisei in London, as at that time Orthodox immigrants were getting off the trains from Europe at Stratford and had no church to go to. The women got jobs cleaning offices, the men on building sites. As a result of my missionary conversation, Bishop Elisei arranged for a service for these people once a month in an Anglican church in Romford. This has not been successful, as the liturgy takes place only a few times a year on a Saturday, when many work, and it is for Russians only. The congregations number only about 20. The majority of Orthodox living in the Stratford-Ilford-Romford area are in fact Moldovan, Romanian and Ukrainian, not Russian.
What are we going to do for the 20,000 Orthodox of East London, in the three fords: Stratford, Ilford and Romford? And the 10,000 who live nearby, in Hainault, Hornchurch, Upminster, Brentwood, Basildon, Billericay, Grays, Tilbury, and to the north, in Harlow? We have identified a church for sale for £1.3 million. Such a sum seems like a dream. Perhaps we can find something cheaper? In any case, the question is: Can you help or do you know someone who can help? I have been told that a Moldovan billionaire lives in London. Please put me into contact with him! With the support of a few rich people, we can do it. We have a Charitable Trust to look after funds. Our Metropolitan Joseph is a missionary-minded bishop. These are not the problems. Finance is! CAN YOU HELP?